God has drawn together the witnesses of heaven and earth as He accuses His people of wickedness. What then is the final verdict? As we will find out in today’s conclusion of Psalm 50, God is a merciful God: He lets His people off with a warning.
Please read Psalm 50:22-23.
God issues a clear threat of judgment: if His people forget Him, then He will tear them apart, and there will “be none to deliver!” There is no person, no entity, no force of nature so powerful that it will be able to protect people from the wrath of God that is to come. God is a merciful God, but He is now warning of an imminent penalty if His people do not change their ways.
One of the shows that I enjoy watching from time to time is called “Caught in Providence.” This show uses video footage of real people who appear in the court of Judge Frank Caprio, the Chief Municipal Judge in Providence, Rhode Island. Judge Caprio is one of the more merciful judges that you will find; a person with a good excuse will usually get a reduced sentence from him, or even have the charges dismissed. But I have seen this judge get extremely angry at times—especially when he feels he is being taken advantage of.
There was one case where a young woman had appeared before the judge and given him a sob story. So, he had the boot removed from her car for a minor penalty and put her on a reasonable payment plan to pay the rest of her fine. She comes back a few months later after her car has been booted again, because she had never even made a single payment! Judge Caprio was livid!
A good judge knows when to show mercy, but he pours out his wrath upon those who take advantage of his mercy!
God has patiently waited for His people to repent. Now, He has drawn them into court, laid out His just case against them, and offered them mercy. But woe to that person who still refuses to change their ways! If His people don’t repent after all of this, God will tear them apart!
What does repentance look like in this case? God wants His people to offer thanksgiving as their sacrifice, and to order their way rightly. He is not telling His people to stop offering sacrifices; He is telling them to stop thinking that offering sacrifices will excuse their wicked behavior. Instead, they should continue to offer sacrifices, while living the way God has called them to live! To the person who does this, God “will show the salvation of God.”
As Christians, we don’t offer the Jewish sacrifices. But many people offer the modern sacrifices: they go to church some Sundays, give to the church, even volunteer occasionally; they call themselves “Christian” and generally agree with conservative doctrine; they certainly don’t commit “the big sins,” so they consider themselves good people. Yet, these people gossip and lie; they commit blasphemy, idolatry, and adultery; they value their house, car, family, job, friends, status, or kids' sports more than they value God. They claim to be living for God but are actually living wicked lives.
Such people must be warned: if you forget God in your daily life, God will one day tear you apart with His wrath, and nothing will be able to save you; but if you humble yourself today by surrendering to Jesus Christ as Savior, and following the commands of your Lord, then you may be saved from this wrath to come.
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